Samantha Brady is an adoption therapist at Holt-Sunny Ridge. Learn more about her!

My name is Samantha Brady and I grew up in Lombard, Illinois with my parents and two brothers. Growing up, I was a diver and a gymnast. I continued to dive in college and coached the park district dive team in the summers for eight years. I am a big hockey and baseball fan, I cheer for the Chicago Cubs and the Detroit Red Wings. My husband and I live in Woodridge and have an amazing 20-month-old son. I met my husband while he was active duty in the Army and we lived on post at Fort Polk, Louisiana. My husband’s contract ended earlier this year and we were able to move home! He continues to serve but now in the National Guard.

I am a licensed clinical social worker with a bachelor’s degree in social work from Western Illinois University and a master’s degree in social work from University of Illinois at Chicago. I remember when I was 13 years old I told my parents that I was going to be a social worker — helping people help themselves is what I have felt passionate about since a very young age. My mom is also a clinical social worker and I looked up to her and the services she gave to our community. When people ask me how I got into the adoption field, I say it choose me. I was interviewing for a different position and ended up having a dual interview for a post adoption job. I knew nothing about adoption other than my college roommate was an adoptee through DCFS. Through the interview I felt like it was going to be a perfect fit and it did not take me long to fall in love with my job. When I was in Louisiana, working as a new parent support home visitor, I missed my role as a therapist within adoption and knew I needed to get back to it as soon as I got home. As a therapist it is important to know your strengths and how you can best serve your community.

Therapy with adoptees comes with a whole different level of internal work the client has to do because of their early beginnings. If a therapist is not competent in understanding the core issues with adoptees, the family can become even more dysregulated. The other big part of being an adoption-competent therapist is knowing the adoption verbiage on how to appropriately talk to the families. They come in ready to work not teach you as the therapist all about how to respectfully talk to them. I believe that parents of adoptees can know the deep struggle their kids have, but not truly understand the extent of it until they begin digging. If your child asks you a question but then does not bring it up again, do not assume they forgot about it. They opened the door, so it is your turn to walk through and help them figure out what they need to be able to fill in the holes in their story. I am a family systems social worker. If I am asking a child to work hard on healing, I am asking the parents to work twice as hard to not only support their child in healing but also to make changes to their family system to make an environment that is conducive to allow the healing to happen. I love playing games with the family and laughter is a huge part in the healing process.

Learn more about adoption-competent therapy at Holt-Sunny Ridge.